Windsor

Windsor Indigenous artist's hand-made jewelry to be featured in Vanity Fair UK

Indigenous artist and jewelry-maker Kat Paquach got a surprise e-mail from Condé Nast inviting her to be a part of a promotional spread in Vanity Fair UK.

'There is a demand and there is a want ... from Indigenous artists, and that's really exciting'

Kat Pasquach, the owner of Culture Shock Jewelry is thrilled to have her work featured in upcoming editions of Vanity Fair UK. (Katerina Georgieva/CBC)

A Cree artist in Windsor is going to be featured in a series of promotional spreads in Vanity Fair UK.

Kat Pasquach, the owner of Culture Shock Jewelry in Windsor, said it all started with a surprising email from Condé Nast, the media company that runs the publication.

"It was overwhelming," she said, initially thinking it was junk mail, but later realizing it was legitimate. 

"Vanity Fair? Like, what? You just you don't think that's going to happen"

Pasquach has to pay for the ad, but it means international exposure. It'll feature some of her hand-made jewelry, alongside work by other hand-made artists. 

"The international exposure is really exciting. I know that there has been a huge demand for authentic Indigenous art in other countries — other continents even — and I'm really hoping that this is not just an opportunity for me, but for other Indigenous people," said Pasquach. 

Pasquach sent the publication photographs of three different pairs of earrings, similar to these, that will be featured in three upcoming issues. (Katerina Georgieva/CBC)

Pasquach added it was amazing to know that, from Windsor, her work caught the attention of someone all the way in the UK.

"That to me speaks to how important it is for people to start supporting small hand-made business, but that there is a demand and there is a want ... from Indigenous artists, and that's really exciting."

A family tradition

Pasquach creates traditional jewelry, with a lot of influences from her own culture, and she pulls from other areas as well.

Culture Shock Jewelry first started 13 years ago, but Pasquach has been making jewelry since she was five years old, beading with her family, adding that the business today is family run. 

Pasquach creates traditional jewelry with influences from her own culture, and she pulls from other areas as well. (Katerina Georgieva/CBC)

"A lot of my traditional stuff is actually made by my mom and my sister, and used to be my grandmother as well, so we would all work together and make products," said Pasquach.

She's even been passing on those same skills to her five-year-old niece. 

"That cultural component is a key driving factor of my business," she said.

"Even though I make every-day jewelry that you wouldn't necessarily see it as being Native, there are the skills that I have because of my traditions. So, to pass that on and share that with everybody has been — I've been lucky."

Now that the date is approaching and the magazine will be hitting the shelves soon, Pasquach said she's getting "really excited" and looking forward to what comes next. 

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